"Yeah honey, it was bad, but at least I got to leave the terminal this time!"


"Yeah honey, it was bad, but at least I got to leave the terminal this time!"

SULLY

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. NEW YORK

We begin with Captain TOM "SULLY" HANKS trying to maneuver a plane with two failed engines. The plane weaves through skyscrapers, but ultimately CRASHES INTO THE CITY, KILLING THOUSANDS IN A FIERY EXPLOSION!

But then TOM wakes up.

TOM HANKS

Oh thanks Christ, it was just a nightmare! But still, airlines probably shouldn't show this movie as their in-flight entertainment.

INT. COMMITTEE FOR INCONVENIENCING MOVIE PROTAGONISTS

The NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD is grilling TOM HANKS and AARON ECKHART for their part in the "Miracle on the Hudson" incident.

MIKE O'MALLEY

So Tom, did you get enough sleep the night before? Do you drink alcohol? Are you having personal problems at home? Are you now or ever have been a communist?

TOM HANKS

No!

MIKE O'MALLEY

Harumph! A likely story.

AARON ECKHART

Um, look I know you guys are serving as the only antagonists in this movie but do you have to be total dicks about it? I'm pretty sure the real NTSB didn't act this way.

TOM HANKS

Yeah seriously, what's your problem, Mike? Are you worried that no one will take you seriously in this role because they all remember you as the host of "GUTS"?

MIKE O'MALLEY

No! I'm just doing what anyone else would do in this situation: try to find any and all reasons why this incident could be entirely your fault! And now for more questions, let's go to Moe. Moe!

ANNA GUNN

It's Anna, actually. Sorry Tom, but if you don't come up with a helluva good reason why you broke that big, expensive toy of ours, we're just going to assume that you were distracted by coke and hookers in that cockpit and that's why you crashed the plane.

TOM HANKS

So you guys are going to spend 90 minutes trying to convince the audience that insurance companies are assholes? Anyone who's ever been in a car accident or a hurricane knows that!

INT. FILLER SCENE

TOM phones his wife, LAURA LINNEY.

TOM HANKS

(on the phone)

Hi honey. Do you know how we can stretch the "Miracle on the Hudson" incident into a full length feature?

LAURA LINNEY

(on the phone)

Not really, Sully. I'm just here for some tearful phone calls! Wait, "Sully"? Do I really call my husband a nickname for his last name? The same name I also share with him?

TOM HANKS

Eh, who knows. Anyway, we have all of this political aftermath stuff, but we need something else!

LAURA LINNEY

Well, I don't know, we could throw in a scene of you learning to fly as a teenager...

EXT. FLASHBACK

YOUNG TOM HANKS is learning to fly a plane.

OLD PILOT

And that, young whippersnapper, is how you keep a positive attitude!

YOUNG TOM HANKS

Thanks mister!

INT. BACK TO FILLER SCENE

TOM HANKS

That's it? Was that even necessary?

LAURA LINNEY

Well, uh, how about a scene where we go back to your old Air Force days! Specifically the one where you were forced to to have an emergency landing to prove to the audience that you've done this kind of thing before!

EXT. FLASHBACK

TOM flies a malfunctioning Air Force plane.

TOM HANKS

Major flight control malfunction. I've found a way to keep the plane gliding, and successfully maneuver it on to the runway.

TOM'S CO-PILOT

What a great landing. Thanks Tom!

INT. BACK TO FILLER SCENE AGAIN

TOM HANKS

Again, is this necessary? Do you really think there are people watching this movie that question my ability as a pilot?

LAURA LINNEY

I don't know, but that's all we've got! Those scenes and the ones where you're just talking to your wife! ...Hey, doesn't this seem familiar to you?

TOM HANKS

What?

LAURA LINNEY

You phoning your wife... in a gripping drama... where the lead is forced to think on his feet when disaster strikes his vessel sometime in 2009? And in 2000? And in 1994? In fact, can you ever go on a trip without it ending in disaster?

TOM HANKS

Uh, sorry dear, gotta go!

(hangs up)

I have no idea what she's talking about.

INT. COMMITTEE FOR INCONVENIENCING MOVIE PROTAGONISTS

AARON ECKHART

Our superiors want us to seek counseling. Counseling! Can you imagine something as ridiculous as seeking help from a mental health professional? Especially after experiencing a life threatening situation?

TOM HANKS

(has more visions of plane crashes)

(foams at the mouth)

Uhhhh..

MIKE O'MALLEY

Okay, time for some more antagonizing. So Tom, it turns out the left engine was still idle, not dead like you thought. See? I knew it! You're a terrible pilot!

AARON ECKHART

Bastards! That's not even true! How dare you insult this man! I smash my desk in fury!

ANNA GUNN

Look, I know you think your BFFL is a hero, but the truth is, the only reason you're alive today is because he followed the safety handbook!

AARON ECKHART

Actually, he DIDN'T follow the safety handbook! He turned on the auxiliary power unit, which is one of the last things that book tells you to do!

ANNA GUNN

Wow, that does make him look like a hero. That also makes us look like complete idiots.

MIKE O'MALLEY

Yeah, well, that doesn't change the fact that our computer simulation said that Tom could have landed the plane safely back at LaGuardia. So why didn't you, Tom?

TOM HANKS

Why would I want to go back to LaGuardia? Have you ever been there? It's the shittiest airport ever!

MIKE O'MALLEY

Okay, this is obviously going nowhere. We'll reconvene later after you have more flashbacks of the crash.

TOM HANKS

Wait, we're only 45 minutes in! Shouldn't we lead up to the crash and save it for the end or something-

INT. FLASHBACK - JANUARY 19, 2009

Passengers board US Airways Flight 1549.

TOM HANKS

...I guess not.

SAM HUNTINGTON runs up after the gate is shut.

SAM HUNTINGTON

Hi, I know we're late, but my father, my brother and I have an emergency and we absolutely need to get on this plane. Let us on! Let us on!

GATE ATTENDANT

Well okay, but I should warn you, you're in a movie and Tom Hanks is the captain of your vessel. Enjoy your flight!

(locks the gateway door)

SAM HUNTINGTON

Let us off! Let us off!

TOM and AARON enter the cock pit.

AARON ECKHART

What a nice day, eh Tom? It's one of those days that feels like a regular ol' day at the office, but it also feels like just one single word could screw the whole day up.

TOM HANKS

(singing)

"Bird bird bird, bird is the word. B-B-B-Bird bird bird, bird is the word. Don't you know, about the bird?"

AARON ECKHART

Tom!

TOM HANKS

Oh, sorry. I've got that song stuck in my head. Anyway, lets prepare for takeoff.

The TAKEOFF goes without a hitch.

TOM HANKS

Oh no, BIRDS!

AARON ECKHART

Dammit man, enough with the song-

TOM HANKS

No, not the song!

A VERY LARGE and possibly DEAF flock of CANADA GEESE hit the plane! They get sucked up and DESTROY BOTH ENGINES IN A MILLION BAJILLION TO ONE CHANCE!

AARON ECKHART

This is terrible!

TOM HANKS

I know! One more stupid reason for Americans to hate Canada!

AARON ECKHART

Not that! Call air traffic control!

TOM HANKS

Control, we've lost both engines, and there's not enough time to land at a nearby airport. We're going into the Hudson! Feel free to blame yourself even though you did everything right!

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL WORKER

(blames self)

Man, I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

The plane goes down, and everyone's pants FILL WITH SHIT. The plane heads for the water and-

AARON ECKHART

Wait! We need to drag this out!

TOM HANKS

No! This is the exciting bit! Don't-

INT. DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW

TOM HANKS

MOTHERFUCKER!

DAVID LETTERMAN

So Tom, does anything ruin suspense like suddenly seeing all the characters on a couch, laughing at how they all survived?

TOM HANKS

(snarls)

INT. HOTEL ROOM

TOM'S on the phone with LAURA again.

LAURA LINNEY

(sniffs)

(cries)

(weeps)

TOM HANKS

(rubbing his temples)

Really?

LAURA LINNEY

Oh, honey! We might lose the house! And other crap we never mention again!

TOM HANKS

Yeah... can I get back to the plane-

INT. BAR

TOM sits at a bar.

TOM HANKS

-crash?

BARTENDER MICHAEL RAPAPORT

Hey! You're a big hero!

TOM HANKS

I'm not a hero. I'm-

(slicks back hair)

(puffs out chest)

(rescues puppy)

-an average Joe just trying to do his job!

BARTENDER MICHAEL RAPAPORT

(starry eyed)

TOM HANKS

Okay, NOW can we-

EXT. HUDSON RIVER - PLANE CRASH

TOM HANKS

THANK YOU.

The plane hits the river!

TOM HANKS

Holy shit, we're alive! Okay, everybody evacuate the plane! And everyone in the emergency exit aisles, time for you to step up and help everyone like you all agreed to beforehand!

PASSENGERS IN EMERGENCY EXIT AISLES

Aww man, who knew by getting more leg room that we'd actually need to help in an emergency?

The passengers make it safely onto the wings or the emergency rafts, and TOM searches the plane as it fills up with water.

AARON ECKHART

What are you doing? We've got to get off this sinking plane!

TOM HANKS

Hang on! I can't leave this plane crash without retrieving one thing!

(grabs volleyball)

Okay, let's go!

AARON ECKHART

Great! Time to find out if we make it out alive!

TOM HANKS

Of course we do! Everyone knows about the "Miracle on the Hudson" already.

AARON ECKHART

Er... time for people who forgot about it to find out if we make it out alive!

TOM HANKS

They know. We told them in the beginning of the movie. Seriously, there's no tension here at all.

The passengers are rescued by FERRY and even one or two SCUBA-COPS, and are brought back to land.

AARON ECKHART

You did it, Tom! All 155 passengers are alive! You're a hero! Seriously, women are going to start throwing themselves at you as if you were friggin' Mick Jagger!

TOM HANKS

What? That's ridiculous. Of course they won't--

WOMAN #1

Sully! Give me a hug!

WOMAN #2

Sully! Date my mom!

WOMAN #3

Sully! Sign my boobs!

...Okay that last one didn't happen, but you get it.

INT. COMMITTEE FOR INCONVENIENCING MOVIE PROTAGONISTS

Back in the present, TOM and AARON meet with an even bigger committee!

ANNA GUNN

Alright, this is it. We're finally going to find out if Tom's a hero or a fraud. I mean, none of this would change the way he's seen in the eyes of the public but whatever.

MIKE O'MALLEY

Let's run our simulators again so we can all see where the mean, old, geese killer went wrong.

They present two computer simulations that show it was possible to safely land back at LaGuardia and in Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

TOM HANKS

Okay, but how many times did those test pilots practice before they did that simulation? Did you take the "human factor" into account? Did the absence of the severe pressure of carrying actual human souls on board have an effect on how quickly those pilots reacted? I can't even believe I have to ask you guys this shit!

MIKE O'MALLEY

Holy crap, you're right! The pilots practiced 17 times before that simulation, and as soon as they hit the birds they turned around immediately and headed back to the airport! We didn't account for any human error because everything in the simulation was totally expected, which was the complete opposite of your situation! Whatdya know, we were wrong the whole time!

ANNA GUNN

Seriously, how did we not think of any of this? Should't this be something the National Transportation Safety Board knows already?

They run the simulation again, this time with a reaction time of 35 seconds, and both test planes crash before they get to the airports.

TOM HANKS

BOO YA, BITCHES!

MIKE O'MALLEY

Well Tom, as someone who was just proven wrong, I'll do what everyone does: accept it gracefully and agree with you on everything from here on out.

ANNA GUNN

And what do you say we have another flashback to the start of the crash again! You know, for gits and shiggles!

AARON ECKHART

Yeah! We spent so much time stretching it out, we might as well replay it shot by shot, frame by frame!

TOM HANKS

Christ. Ya know, I guess we're just lucky that this is such an interesting real life event, because no other movie would be accepted with this time-jumping, clusterfuck way of storytelling.

DIRECTOR CLINT EASTWOOD

Eh, whatever. Either way, my classic underdog story is complete!

MIKE O'MALLEY

Which part of a multi-millionaire, movie star director picking on a safety inspector just trying to do his job counts as a "classic underdog" story?

DIRECTOR CLINT EASTWOOD

(lighting a cigar)

The part where the underdog loses, of course.

END

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